Oracle Touts Application Server 10G

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2003-09-09

Oracle Touts Application Server 10G

SAN FRANCISCO—In its splashy debut of the Oracle Database 10G here at OracleWorld, Oracle Corp. on Monday erected two other legs of the stool that supports its version of grid computing: Application Server 10G and Enterprise Manager 10G.

First theres the middleware that will feed off data from the next-generation database—Oracle Application Server 10G, aka 10Gias.

A clunky name, true. "We need more acronyms, dont we?" quipped Vice President of Application Server Product Marketing John Magee in an interview with eWEEK.

Names aside, Application Server 10G is designed to simplify the administration of applications running on a grid. It features enhanced integration and Web services capabilities geared to help customers integrate applications and Web services or shift computing resources on the grid in lockstep with shifting business priorities—for example, to do payroll.

Oracle Executive Vice President Chuck Phillips in his opening keynote said that the main difference between the grid technology offered by competitors such as IBM, Sun Microsystems Inc. or Hewlett-Packard Co. is, in a word, applications. The premise is that the application server can run existing applications and Web sites without modification for the grid, which pools commodity or high-end servers, storage and software.

In essence, Oracle is saying, go forth and consolidate, with all moving parts installed on the unified Oracle stack. "We are both an applications vendor and an infrastructure provider," Magee said. "If you look at the market overall, IBM has infrastructure. Then you have SAP [AG] and PeopleSoft [Inc.] with their software. Oracle provides both: the database, application server, portal, development tools and eBusiness suite of applications.

"In the applications space today, a lot of customers are starting to think of what the underlying technology is for business applications," he said. "A lot of companies have installed ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] and CRM [Customer Relationship Management] systems. They now understand they need integration, a Web Services platform, so they can integrate applications with their existing infrastructure. Its important to have both parts of that puzzle."

Application Server 10G features new policy-based workload management capabilities, allowing DBAs to shift hardware, storage and software configurations as need be. Those adjustments can be based on threshold metrics such as server utilization rates or end-user response times, or they can be scheduled in response to recurring events, such as closing the books at the end of the quarter.

Application Server 10G also has new high-availability capabilities for applications running on clusters and grids, such as an enhanced Fast Start Fault Recovery Architecture and Failure Notification, that streamline communication between the database and application server nodes to provided coordinated failover response.

New integration features include easy-to-use declarative tools and prebuilt application adapters, along with data that eliminates the need for custom setup and programming. Application Server 10G also supports business-to-business integration with partners and suppliers; policy-based management to streamline that integration by maintaining agreements, profiles and collaboration details; new model-based, event-driven management tools to handle business processes; and support for a range of standards-based integration protocols, including EDI, RosettaNet (for high-tech manufacturing) and HL/7 (for health care).

In addition, to ease reuse and integration of applications, Application Server 10G offers full support for the latest WS-I Web services standards and interoperability with .Net Web services.

Next page: Oracle Enterprise Manager 10G

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The third leg of the grid stool is Oracle Enterprise Manager 10G, which sits on top of both the database and the application server. The update introduces automated management that lets DBAs enforce policies, manage service levels, and rebalance computing resources and applications as business requirements shift.

Central to OEM 10Gs grid management is new software called Oracle Grid Control. The software is designed for monitoring and management of grids, including databases, applications and storage, within one console. At its core is a control repository with performance, availability and configuration data that enables Grid Control to offer recommendations on those topics. It also transforms and configures data into usable information.

OEM 10G is built on an open, standards-based architecture and supports management standards including CIM (Common Information Model) and WBEM (Web-based Enterprise Management).

Jeremy Forman, a computer systems analyst for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, is beta testing Application Server 10G and OEM 10G with the goal of better handling of a large multimedia database with some 5 million stored images of assets along a 30,000-mile system, including signs, guardrails or culverts. Eventually, his department wants to construct a virtual drive-through of the states roads.

Its not grid that gets Formans approval—rather, its the self-management aspects of the new architecture. "Im the only DBA in the department," he said. "10Gs offering so many automation features. Ive used OEM extensively. Im excited about production with 10G because it allows me to automate day-to-day stuff: managing table spaces, and performance tuning more than anything. It offers you a fix on the fly without having to go through the process of finding it out yourself."

Application Server 10G, OEM 10G and OEM 10G Grid Control will be available at years end. Members of OTN (Oracle Technology Network) can download OEM 10G and OEM 10G Grid Control free at Oracle didnt disclose pricing details.

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